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After 20 years under Windows as a power user I am making the decision to leave Windows and to dive head first into Linux, which is completely unknown to me. These are some of my reflections during this journey through the wild world of Linux.
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Wrestling With Choosing A Stable Or Rolling Distro

Posted 08-28-2018 at 11:42 AM by Mulsimine
Updated 08-28-2018 at 12:35 PM by Mulsimine

  • I specifically chose Debian (with XFCE) because I don't have the system build for something as resource intensive as Mint / Ubuntu / KDE, it touts a very large and well tested software repository, the distro is unlikely to vanish, I read it required very little system maintenance for general upkeep, and because I liked the projects long and illustrious history.
  • I chose Stable release because I am new to Linux, I read stability means less time lost playing with the system vs using your system for it's intended purpose, it has extensive documentation, a large community of users for support, and the potential instability of a new OS accompanied by my inability to easily perceive what was (ab)normal.
  • After using Linux for a couple of weeks I am not as attached to my original reasoning. It was made from the vantage point of a pure Windows user flirting with the switch to Linux, browsing which distro is best lists and reading articles about how Linux differed from Windows. Now I find myself contemplating a potential distro switch in the near future, as the limitations and dangers of messing with non-repository programs, as well as a little experience using Linux directly, has given me much to consider.
  • Distro Relevant System Info
    10 Year Old Gaming PC (not much gaming these days)
    1.8GHz Core2Duo
    2GB DDR2 RAM
    7200RPM Hard Drives (none are SD)
  • I tend to spend a great deal of time customizing my OS to fit my needs. My Windows installation was so heavily customized that it would take an average of 200 hours to reinstall and reconfigure it.
  • I now have five kids, one on the way, work from home, home school kids, and don't have the free time to gush over system customization and tweaking the way I used to thoroughly enjoy. It makes me sad but my family must come first. As much as I would love to delve into learning Linux and building my own enviornment using a distro like LFS, I can no longer justify the expenditure of time.
  • I desire the power of a customized environment but am trying to be realistic with myself in terms of differentiating between actions that can be categorized as a hobbyist pursuit and what is necessary to have a fully functional system that meets my daily needs for work. Sadly, from my geeky hobbyist point of view, those needs are quite basic .
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  1. Old Comment
    Despite having systemd, Debian is a decent stable distro. You may want to stay with it a bit longer, getting familiar with the commands and how everything works. Any version of Linux or BSD will run on your hardware, based on the specs given, though that ram might be low-ish. Switching *from* debian will not improve speed & performance.

    Most distros, including debian, are rolling releases. All that means is that packages are updated "continously", or, rather, when needed, and that goes to the repo. When I ran debian, I updated the entire system roughly every week. It was easy and generally just worked.

    Some distros, like slackware, are not rolling: there is a complete new version released every year or so. So you install it once, fix whatever problems you have at the very beginning, and then, *bam* your machine sits and runs for years. At the moment I am using a non-rolling distro, because I really hate updating and would rather do a complete wipe & install every once in a while. (before you ask: no you do not want to run my distro, based on your description of your available time).

    Again: for a linux newbie, getting debian up and running as a daily driver is a good start. Many distros, such as Mint and Ubuntu are based off of debian. Well done.

    p.s. yes, I know that Slackware can be made to be rolling, but I wanted to keep this comment simple.
    Posted 09-04-2018 at 05:29 PM by jr_bob_dobbs jr_bob_dobbs is online now


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